How to Close Your Books with Speed & Efficiency

How to Close Your Books with Speed & Efficiency

In Part I of this two-part series we looked at what a faster close looks like and how YOU can get there. In addition. we talked about the need for speed (Thanks Tom Cruise). In part II, we look at the obstacles that might prevent you from “getting there.”

The road map begins with asking the question – Where to? Many companies aim to get to a close and distribute in less than seven business days, some in five, and some world class organizations can come in under the three-day mark. The journey should begin with an assessment of the current state, which includes understanding sequencing, policies and procedures, technologies, and roles and responsibilities. This assessment should fit rationally with the current close calendar and provide insight into critical path activities and decision points.

Next, determine the ultimate destination on where you seek to end up. A twelve-day close and distribution of results whittled down to a four-day close/distribution is quite a journey. Identify the gaps and bottlenecks within the process. A twelve to four day close doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, most organizations create a stair-step down approach (i.e., twelve to ten, ten to seven, etc.,) using a scorecard to measure key metrics that drive the close cycle to the optimal length. Each shortening is the result of remedying of one or more gaps that are well defined and mitigated.

The gaps are likely across four areas:

First, cultural norms (aka people). Acceptance that ‘we’ve always don